For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Monday, July 12, 2021

I'm Reading...The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert, Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner


This has been another somewhat slower reading week. Kevin had a long weekend because of the 4th, so that messed up my schedule some and a house is being built next door and it's very loud - the dogs keep barking so it's not very reading friendly.

But here's what I'm reading now READ!





The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandi Colbert Goodreads : "From Stonewall Award winner Brandy Colbert comes a novel about first love, family, and hidden secrets that will stay with you long after turning the last page.

I'm so happy to have finally started this one! Colbert is a favorite author of mine and I've had this book on my shelf for years.

Dove. "Birdie", Randolph adheres to all her mothers strict rules but starts to feel rebellious after meeting Booker, a boy she's fallen hard for but has a past that she knows her parents, especially her mother, won't approve of.

Her aunt Carlene, a recovering addict, comes to stay with the family and tensions grow as Birdie pushes boundaries and her mom and aunt are caught up in the past and family secrets and mistrust.  

I think Colbert does difficult family dynamics really well. My favorite by her is is Finding Yvonne but this book is a close second.

I was torn between - I did this myself as a teen Karen and adult Karen while reading. Birdie, understandably feels stifled by her mother's excessive control over her life. I got it. But she also keeps lying and seeing Booker on the down low, (light) drinking and sneaking out. Her mom has her reasons for being so strict but it really was too much and she was very, very hard on Birdie. It was a messy dynamic but I liked how honestly it was portrayed.

I also liked how it explored dealing with a loved one in recovery. Birdie's mom, for years, had gone through the stages of enabling her sister, then hurt by acts of betrayal, then tough love - while Birdie is coming at it as only knowing Carlene as she is now and sees all her potential and how she's trying to do better.

I figured out the big secret early on (but not one of the twists on that secret) but it didn't ruin my enjoyment at all. 

I felt like Booker was very underdeveloped and had concerns over that relationship. I'm all for second chances but he did commit a very violent act and has flare ups with his temper and is also lying and sneaking out - even though he did seem to have remorse and wanted to do better. We only see Birdie's OMG I love him side and red flags so that aspect didn't quite work for me. 

__________________


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner ~ Goodreads In this memoir, narrated by Zauner, she talks about growing up Korean-American in Eugene, OR and her often fraught relationship with her mother, only to lose her to cancer while Zauner was in her 20's. Now she struggles to find those connections to her mom through food and culture - including the H Mart - an Asian grocery store chain.

That's why I picked this one up. We have an H Mart in nearby Portland and it seems to be the thing of legend. I want to get there one day and figured I would vicariously visit through the book for now.

On audio, the author's narration comes off as monotone, and I didn't love it, but the subject matter is deeply personal and filled with love, longing and regret. But also moments of joy - especially when it comes to the sharing of food. 

It's difficult to listen to at times - I lost my mom to cancer at 16 so I can relate to that loss. But more so her caring for her mother in her final days and trying to make up for so many complicated experiences and perform this final act of love. This reminded more of my father, who I also had a complicated relationship with over the years, when I cared for him in his last year or so and it was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I've gone through. 

Despite the sadness, it's also such a warm love letter to her mom. Hearing Zauner come around to viewing some of her mothers harshest criticisms as displays of love in hopes of giving Michelle a better future or to hide difficult truths, doesn't excuse the pain she went through but can provide healing when you're able to see it from a new perspective.

I don't think I would recommend this one on audio - or maybe try a sample first but it was an interesting memoir.

12 comments:

  1. I sort of figured out the secret, but not all the details. I enjoyed watching it all unfold. I saw your rating on GR, and I liked this more than you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same. I was thrown with the how lol I still really liked this one - I just thought the ending was a bit rushed with her mom.

      Delete
  2. I have heard of h mart, I want to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a huge thing out here but I haven't been yet. I have to figure out how far it is from me.

      Delete
  3. My reading is... not happening. Crying sounds like an amazing read though-it's always nice when a book resonates with our own experiences. Plus the Asian market thing- might sound funny but I'd LOVE to have a good Asian market near me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting back to reading somewhat. Not like before, but slow and steady. lol

      H-Mart has reached cult status out here. Asian food is very popular and I had never even had a dumpling before! I can't wait to visit one.

      Delete
  4. Crying in H Mart sounds like a pretty intense read, especially with the personal connection you felt with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It kind of was. I wish I read read instead of listened to that one.

      Delete
  5. These both sound good. 📚

    My dad was estranged from his entire family from around the time I was sixteen. I was glad I was able to reconnect with him while helping take care of him in his final year when I was twenty-four. He didn't realize I had figured out he had given up trying to have visitations because my mother made things extremely difficult for him. I'm glad he didn't have to pass away thinking I thought he didn't care. 💙

    (((((((HUGS))))))) for you my friend. 💙

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you had that opportunity and that he got to have a relationship with you again.

      For my dad and I, it was just very hard to raise a 16 year old rebellious teen alone and he wasn't a very affectionate father. We always got along but weren't close until he needed more intense care with Parkinson's.

      As an adult, you look at it differently and we were able to let a lot go and have those moments.

      Much like the woman in H Mart so that part hit home.

      Delete
  6. Omg I absolutely love H Mart. Could live there. And eat there. Mostly eat there. This does sound a difficult listen and I'm sorry it brought up some pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've been???!!! Now I REALLY need to go. It sounds so amazing. We have several in Portland but I was afraid to go there for so long but it's fine so we've been exploring more.

      Delete